Enrollment Strategies for Hybrid Graduate Programs: A Base Model for EfficiencyDustin Bessette | Doctoral Student, National Graduate School
Graduate distance learners have chosen their educational path based on many factors, including quality of experience offered, future plans, feasibility, flexibility and overall program structure. Be it that their backgrounds are distinct from online programs or that they need a change in the particular educational requirements, they have noted all opportunities and made a choice.
A Comparative Model
Students are increasingly looking for “the best bang for their buck.” Many schools are now offering new studies and degrees in fields that have never been offered before. Since this is the case, why don’t all schools offer these new programs at the same cost? Now, this seems very simple for admissions departments to implement, but it is a complex undertaking.
For instance, students who desire to work in a more tech-savvy industry will look for programs that enhance their networking and technological skills through virtual learning. Students who look to enhance their international relations will look for programs that may include study abroad trips and discussions of political views. Students who look for the online capability, but with physical meetings, will look into hybrid programs. These programs are essential for all institutions since they help create new learning environments for students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn such topics. They also help build skills and performance metrics for students seeking employment in the professional world.
A Change in Platform, An Increase in Enrollment
More than ever, there has been a dire need for students with interdisciplinary backgrounds in the workforce. This is mainly because most jobs need professionals with advanced skills in multiple fields.
To assist individuals seeking these careers, institutions will need to keep up to date on content that enhances skills and performance. Virtual and hybrid programs are not being offered in every institution; thus, their implementation in an institution could help to increase its reputation. The feasibility and financial cost to implement these programs is minimal while the gain or return on investment is large. This change is needed for institutions, since employers are increasingly expecting potential employees to have these skills on hand when they apply for work.
Institutions need to have the capability to offer many programs at once, both virtually and physically, in order to maintain and sustain the student body they currently have. To create this, institutions need to have an “Action Based Research Plan” that incorporates both the academic and the working side of careers. The hybrid model is a proven plan that works in both environments and can be used in various locations for any institution.
Hybrid programs help introduce students to new studies and incorporate real-life studies into academic settings, while bringing the mentor or professor closer to the student. These new standards assist in many ways and can help increase the student retention and enrollment for any institution that seeks to use technological changes.
Hybrid programs are what some call a “new creation” or “an adaptation” to the educational world. These programs are currently underutilized, which brings a meaningful doubt to institutions that currently use them. When there is doubt in a particular program, there is also a leading thought that the platform is underutilized and there is low enrollment. A change can be adapted so that enrollment for institutions can be higher and so that they can attract students to studies that will assist them academically and professionally.
Author Perspective: Student